The Mercedes-Benz fashion campaign for the Autumn/Winter 2011 season is noble and dynamic in its contrasting monochromatic imagery. The acclaimed fashion photographer Craig McDean, in close collaboration with the British creative director David James, portrayed the new Mercedes-Benz CLS with supermodel Karolina Kurkova. True to the campaign’s theme, “Captivated”, the result is a spectacular fashion visual that will enchant the viewer with its beauty, dynamics and extravagance. 


The key visual for the Autumn/Winter 2011 fashion campaign by Mercedes-Benz is equally powerful with its interplay of dynamic form and sensuality. The backdrop consists of staggered mirror panels, with the CLS and Karolina Kurkova in a striking black ensemble positioned in the foreground. The visual carries the distinct mark of prime stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé, who describes her own style as “abstract sexy”. No colours are employed. Instead, the visual conveys its magical fascination through a dialogue of monochrome imagery.

“Transforming the dynamic, athletic design of the new CLS into a powerful yet feminine fashion image is the task that Craig McDean and David James were asked to approach. The photo motif perfectly translates the car’s design features into the visual language of fashion by adopting the lines and surfaces of the CLS to create this final composition. Following the surreal interpretation of last season, we now enter a new avant-garde dimension with this campaign,” explains Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President Brand Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Craig McDean’s long-standing passion for automobiles and his strong visual aesthetic made him a perfect candidate to shoot this particular key visual campaign. “When I look at a car, I’m initially obsessed with the design and its contours. They always hide a deeper meaning. In this case, I wanted to create a true fashion photograph. It shouldn’t portray the CLS statically as advertising photos often do. Instead, I wanted to capture both the car and Karolina in motion at the point of interaction.”

Karolina Kurkova, one of the world’s most beautiful women who only recently obtained her driving license, was fascinated by the new CLS from the start. “It’s a beautifully smooth and luxurious car that immediately appealed to me. It has these fascinating contours that I wanted to convey with my body language during today’s shooting. I can imagine myself behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. It fits my style. Since I recently got my driving license, I need to gain more experience driving. And I’m sure that would be great fun with the new CLS.”

With its new “Captivated” key visual, Mercedes-Benz maintains their growing reputation for producing visionary fashion campaigns. The visual will launch at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in January 2011. It is the latest in a series of creative seasonal campaigns that combines fashion and automobile design in a unique style.

Mercedes-Benz is actively involved in fashion events in 30 countries on every continent. In addition to established fashion weeks in Berlin, New York, London, Milan and Paris, the German luxury brand is also present at exclusive fashion events in several other major international cities including Mexico City, Stockholm, Beijing and Buenos Aires.

The Creative Team:

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The new CLS embodies a cultivated sportiness. With the second generation of its popular four-door Coupé, Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in turning out a new edition with a captivating design and state-of-the-art technology. Immediately striking is the innovative front design with its long, sporty hood. Another key feature is the elegantly drawn proportions of the CLS silhouette that are enhanced by their dynamics and a new interplay of lines and surfaces.

From the technical perspective, the CLS is more efficient and agile due to its lightweight construction and new electro-mechanical direct steering. High-performance LED headlights offer more visibility, and the car’s safety credentials are improved via new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

Craig McDean

Photographer and filmmaker Craig McDean is renowned for his striking fashion photography and portraiture. The British artist, currently residing in New York, has photographed international campaigns for such brands as Dior, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Estée Lauder and Calvin Klein. He is also a regular contributor to several noted publications, including American, British, French and Italian Vogue, Interview and W Magazine. McDean’s work has been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Moreover, he is a passionate motorist who has competed in drag races. His first book, “I Love Fast Cars” was published in 1999 in homage to the American drag racing scene.

Karolina Kurkova

Karolina Kurkova is presently one of the most popular top models in the business and in constant demand on the international catwalk, in fashion productions and for global advertising campaigns. Kurkova, who was born in the Czech Republic, was discovered by a model scout and received an exclusive contract with Prada/ Miu Miu. She graced the cover of the American edition of Vogue for the first time in February 2001. Her international career progressed exponentially from here. In the early years, she appeared on further 52 magazine covers. Kurkova lives in New York City with her husband Archie Drury and their one-year-old son Tobin. She is committed to the welfare of children and is an ambassador of Free Arts, an organization that sponsors art programs for abused and neglected children.

David James

British art director David James initially generated industry attention through his work for Prada. He has implemented the brand’s campaigns since 1997 and designs a lavish and exclusive invitation to their fashion shows every season. He is also the Creative Director of AnOther Magazine and has developed highly regarded campaigns for Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior. James began his career by designing record album covers and worked with photographers such as Trevor Key and Nick Knight, as well as typographer and graphic designer Gareth Hague. Recently, James has focused his work towards the moving image; often generating visuals for his advertising campaigns from existing film material. David James eschews public attention, declines requests for interviews and notoriously prefers to work in seclusion.

Marie-Amélie Sauvé

Stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé is most recognised amongst the international fashion community for her work with French Vogue and close relationship with Balenciaga designer, Nicolas Ghesquière. She began working with Vogue Editor-In-Chief Carine Roitfeld in 2001 and her unique style has since become a significant characteristic of this leading fashion title. Marie-Amélie Sauvé also works for Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, AnOther Magazine and the New York Times. She was the driving force behind the European GAP collection and its campaign. Her styling work was equally distinctive in the 2008 Pirelli Calendar.

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